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From Kyoto, we went to Hiroshima. Hiroshima was… fun, which, from my American perspective, is not what I was expecting. The small part of the city we saw is beautiful. We stayed at a hotel right by the train station and river, and our room had a lovely view of river-park land. The train station itself seems a lot more barren than the other big city stations we've been in. The underground is mostly large concrete halls with few ads or decorations and reminded me slightly of a nuclear bunker, though that may say more about my brain than the place itself.Specifics and a few Pics )
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Kyoto was a whirlwind. We, alas, only had time to see two sights: Higashi Hongan-ji (down the street from our hotel) and the aquarium.

Temple

We stumbled upon Higashi Hongan-ji (temple), which is undergoing renovation but is still partly open to the public. It’s interesting to spy the pre-renovated temple under the scaffolding vs. the part that’s already completed; they’re doing an amazing job at cleaning and brightening it.

Chatter and Pics )
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Yesterday, we went to Inuyama, a smallish town near Nagoya, with my old friend, Toshio, and his fiancée, Yumi, who is from Inuyama. Yumi and her family were very gracious in having us over as guests and feeding us. Then, Yumi drove us around to various local sites, including the Meiji-mura Museum and fishing with cormorants.

(Pics below the cut)

Read more... )

In Japan

Sep. 7th, 2012 12:55 pm
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I am a couple of days into my visit to Japan. I have nothing groundbreaking to say, but here are some impressions...

The people, of course, are very nice, and I feel embarrassed that they speak English to me by default in their own country, but the fact is I can't figure out anything they say in Japanese. My listening skills are atrocious. I can figure out a little bit more reading, and that's been kind of fun and occasionally even helpful to my much more travel savvy but less Japanese knowing travel companion.Read more... )
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The Hour before Morning
Met with Matt today about The Hour before Morning. We actually didn't discuss the film much because it's getting on toward done. We did chat about trailers and marketing, which it was kind of exciting. Matt also showed me some of his color correction, which helps the look of the film a lot!

We picked a song from the score for the trailer. Grayson's score is haunting and just right, and [livejournal.com profile] haemony sings the Ash'torian chant beautifully, almost androgynously.

The Crow
While fish-sitting for a friend today, I saw part of The Crow on his Netflix. (I missed it when it came out.) It's not a great movie, but it did make me miss enjoying stories with that tone: dark fantasy, angst. If anyone knows any such that are well written (i.e. not a just rehash of the usual tropes), I'm open to rec's.

The Geek Girl Project
I have started writing for The Geek Girl Project, a blog by geeky girls (or "firls" as Kitty would have me type), looking at media, tech, writing, etc. It's a great group of people and lots of fun.

Another Good Review Blog
Check out Nye Joel Hardy's science fiction, fantasy, and other book reviews.

Life Post-Trigun
It is very restful to be done with Trigun. I've been pondering a final cleanup post of miscellaneous thoughts, but I probably won't do that right away. I think it may be time to obsess on Mirage of Blaze again for while. (MoB looks oddly gentle and comforting after Trigun.)

RL

May. 15th, 2012 11:05 pm
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Ugh, Dad fell and had to have stitches, but he will be okay. It made for a slightly panicky evening.
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Am having trouble getting through Soseki's Sorekara, despite the fact it's quite a good novel, because I keep getting distracted by Trigun manga. Had I world enough and time, there might be a quite a lot of Trigun fan fic in me; there are certainly many avenues. And happily the fandom is big and old enough that a lot of good stuff has been written. As it is, there's no way I'll time/energy to sit down and do any such thing in the future. I can't even find the time to load my old fic onto AO3. I probably will post more meta, though, when I've read more.

Norwescon

Apr. 9th, 2012 04:24 pm
labingi: (labingi)
Went to Norwescon with [personal profile] sixish this past weekend and tabled at the session for indie writers and publishers put on by the indefatigable Bob Boyd of The Written Wyrd.

I played the rough cut of The Hour before Morning on my laptop, which went over quite well as a marketing approach. It generated some good conversation, and I got to swap business cards with a number of interesting writers and editors.

[personal profile] sixish got to have a chat about the gaming industry with some fellow industry insiders.

All in all, it was a very satisfying experience, though we didn't see much of the rest of the con: a lot of good Doctor Who outfits though, including Five, which I don't often see.

The next day we went to Kinokuniya and spent too much on Japanese pop culture.

AND the weather was good. How about that?
labingi: (ivan)
To ACTA and Its Handlers:

You can slow us, but you will not silence us. If you deny us the internet, we still trade stories; we will listen to music; we will create vids and fics and share images. We will do so through 'zines, through CDs, on sketchpads or typewriters or photocopiers. We will return to the post office. And if you compel the post office to censor our mail, we will leave parcels in the trunks of trees or behind garbage bins. We will blog on leaflets. We will hold our illegal public showings of films in people's houses by word of mouth. Our technical experts, who are legion, will still rip DVDs for us so that we can be about the human business of artistic creation.

And you will lose our money because, by eliminating or gravely restricting our use of the internet, you will have removed our incentive to go online and pay for our Netflix, our Hulu, to watch the ads your sponsors pay you for, which today so many of us choose to do because we understand that creative outlets need revenue.

But we will not consent to forgo any access to art you have priced out of reasonable means or deemed not legally available in our country or not legal at all because it pays tribute to some preexisting piece of art--as all art from the dawn of human civilization has done. We will not blind and deafen ourselves to pacify your fear of us. And if you do not behave reasonably toward us, we have no moral obligation to show obedience to you.

I am an American. And much of the time I'm ashamed to be. That my corporate government is one of the prime proponents this assault on the intellectual work of civilization makes me ashamed. Yet there remain precepts of America to which I adhere: that a people should not lightly undertake a revolt against their government, "But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security."*

I do not mean to overstate the case, to call you George III or accuse you of enacting tyranny against me. Up to now, the tightening of the copyright noose has caused me no more than annoyance. Up to now, you have not silenced my voice or deleted my art or blocked my eyes and ears from more than a handful of works of art I love. You have not denied me the internet I daily use for work and information and entertainment. You have not bankrupted me with fines or imprisoned me at taxpayer expense. You have not done so yet. But if you do, then revolt will be my duty.


* I did not need the internet to find this quote. I found it in a book. We will still have our books.
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Happy birthday to my dad: he is 79 today. He and my mom are apparently going to watch The Phantom of the Opera on PBS, which doesn't seem like their kind of show, but I hope they enjoy it!
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I very rarely have truly interesting dreams these days, but I had one last night. It was a massive, expansive dream about an extroverted Hamlet in a surreal setting that varied from medieval to cyberpunk with a stopover in the 1970s (and a very modern Ophelia too). It was so fun and interesting, in fact, that I may work it up as a story--not right now but as a project for the future.

The neatest thing is that it's very different from any story I'd think up consciously. I managed to dream up a protagonist whom I suspect of being an ESFP, which is just really unusual for me:)
labingi: (riki)
I've finished my rewatch of Gungrave and am now feeling depressed and angsty for want of something to fan over. I have gotten some good suggestions though in comments to my previous post, and since my DVDs of the second half of Blood+ arrived today, I'll probably fan for a little while by rewatching some of that.

I think I've spent all my deep Gungrave thoughts for now except to say that every time I watch this show I see more structural resonances. Everyone pretty much foils everyone. The effect is to demonstrate with an enormous iterative weight how different people face the "same" conflicts but make different moral choices according to their personalities, backgrounds, and what all. Here are just a few pairs who act as foils for each other:

* Brandon/Harry
* Big Daddy/Harry
* Brandon/Big Daddy
* Brandon/Bear Walken
* Maria/Sherry
* Maria/Mika (a little)
* Brandon-Harry/Bear-Sid
* Brandon-Harry/Lee-Bob/Big Daddy-Jester
* Brandon/Bunji
Etc.

In other viewing news, I'm in the midst of converting my old VHS tapes of Space Island One to DVD. I don't know why this show has been so totally forgotten. It may not have as much charisma as some other sci fi shows, but it's very solid and often very entertaining. I feel like I'm preserving a precious relic--though I note that it apparently is online. That's a comfort.
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Haitian People/Culture: A Very Glancing Exposure

Haiti is considered a somewhat dangerous country, as a result of which, when you go there for an adoption process, they ferry you around almost as if you were in protective custody. I, therefore, can't claim to have experienced much of the Haitian people or culture in my brief visit, but here are my impressions.

My Impression of the Haitian "Tone"

I don't know where I picked up the stereotype that led to expect a lively and very outgoing people. Was I thinking of media images we get from Jamaica? All I know is that I was anticipating a kind of loudness, of expansive gestures, big emotions, music everywhere, etc. I was surprised to find the people quite the reverse.Read more... )
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I have been trying to save up time/energy to post something meaningful, something scintillating about rereading T. E. Lawrence or the nature of art or something, but alas, that is not going to happen in the near future, so here's a quick a lowdown:

* Kitty is sick again. Her behavior is mostly normal, but she has epic diarrhea (again), and I'll have to take her to the vet tomorrow. Meanwhile, she is not so fun to cuddle, which makes her sad.

* Car is in the shop but should be back early in the week. It's lucky my parents now live in town and I can borrow their car.

* I have temp work at Academic Advising for the next seven weeks, which is good given all the unforeseen expenses of the foregoing, but will be an interesting additional 10 hours a week to fit into my schedule.

* Koreans apparently don't mind having their children tutored at 9 p.m. Do they stay up late as a culture?

* Wednesday is going to be a 14-hour work day.

* Writing time is mostly being spent formatting HBM for self-publication and wordiness-editing Perdita for reissue.

* I have been reading (attempting to read) Barthes, who I somehow managed to almost entirely miss in graduate school. I like a lot of his ideas--insofar as I can parse them--but he will write like that. You know what I mean. Also rereading Lawrence (The Mint and letters), as indicated above. He does not write like that. Thank God.

The End

RL: Kitty

Sep. 13th, 2011 11:10 pm
labingi: (Default)
I think Kitty is happy to be home after her sojourn at my parents'. She is currently sleeping on my bed. She is the snoringest kitty ever.
labingi: (Default)
I'm weighing in on the Orson Scott Card kerfuffle, the one where he rewrites Hamlet to be about the evils of homosexual parents and this brings further to light his homophobia, as on display in this 2004 speech. I wasn't going to comment because if ever there was preaching to the choir, it's here in this corner of DW/LJ. But then, [personal profile] umadoshi linked to this other kerfuffle about YA novels being rejected for writing gay characters, and I realized that outside my little fantasy corner of the world the prejudice remains so glaring that it behooves as many voices as possible to speak against it.

So, to Card's 2004 speech: his basic contention is that anything other than a married man and woman raising children in the pre-1960s model is destructive to civilization because a married man and woman are needed to provide children with a stable family and role models of both genders without which children are very likely (though not, he acknowledges, guaranteed) to grow up troubled and low-functioning. There is a germ of a point here. As someone facing low-income single, adoptive motherhood with a 90% female social circle, I know intimately that my life will be less stable than if I had a full-time, live-in partner. I will have to search for male role models, who are important to children's understanding their society (and to just not feeling deprived relative to their peers).

Card's fallacy, however, is to mistake correlation for causation. Read more... )
labingi: (Ghanior)
The Hour before Morning

I met with Michael on Sunday to look over the visual effects so far. He and his colleagues have done a lot of work! Highlights include...

* The infamous "hover sphere" scene, which we failed utterly to film with any continuity. In this case, our mantra, "We'll fix it in post," has proven pretty valid. Michael has created a nice continuity via "hover sphere" effects that makes good sense out of the disparate people standing/sitting around like they weren't in the same shoot, which they weren't.

* The telepathic FX are also looking good, kind of purply and wavy--nothing mold-breaking but very coherent for tracking when telepathy is going on. Michael also interpolated a nice bit of TPFX when young Jenchae makes a fist. Jake, the director, came up with the fist idea as a visual for young Jenchae's anger. We hadn't thought telepathy at all, but Michael's effect becomes a nice piece of foreshadowing for Jenchae's telepathic power; it all came together nicely.

* The mindscape green screen stuff is also looking good: dark and starry and mysterious.

* Finally, I was personally excited to see the orange, cityscape twilight of Akhté's big window. I'm not a very visual person, but this was one of the strong visual images I've ever since the book (it's in the book), and it's looking exactly as I pictured it. Lovely!


Real Life

In RL, things are finally slowing down a little--and will stay that way for about three weeks before speeding up again. I got my welcome albums for the kids in Haiti sent off, which is a huge load off my mind. I've been putting that off for months.

I now have confirmed teaching appointments for three classes in the fall, none of which, of course, are at my first-choice school, which I'm still waiting on. If I get in there, I'll be teaching four, which will kill me, but at least the money will be welcome. Better rest up while I can.
labingi: (ivan)
Today Moveon.org said to me, "Some of the biggest Republican donors are AT&T, Verizon, Bank of America, and J.P. Morgan Chase. Can you tell these companies, 'You could lose my business if you keep funding Republicans as they crash our economy'?"

Well, Moveon.org, no. At least not in any way any of these companies would believe. As far as I know, I don't do business with Verizon and Chase, so no business to lose there. As for AT&T, well, it's about to buy out T-Mobile, which is my cell phone provider, and my only other option for cell phone service, realistically, would be Verizon, which I categorically refuse to do business with until they are they only monopoly left given the way they used contractual small print to charge me more than twice as much as I have ever paid from any other equivalent service for crappy "high speed" internet that froze routinely several times a week, despite the fact that my use of the service was pretty minimal: email and casual surfing really, no major downloads or uploads.

You see, in the US, it's virtually impossible to tell both AT&T and Verizon you won't work with them unless you're willing not to have a cell phone, and your not having a cell phone will hurt you significantly more than it will hurt them. (I guess Sprint might be some sort of option maybe?)

As for Bank of America*, I've spent years trying not to do business with them, only to have my "socially responsible" credit card company, Working Assets, bought out by them. I suppose I could do a massive search for other credit card companies and try to ascertain which of the two or three mega-conglomerate banks own their various front organizations, but I even if I found one, I have no say in whether B of A or Chase buys them out the day after I sign up.

So, no, Moveon.org, I can't really tell them they'll lose my business. Furthermore, for all the folks who do, I think they'll understand well enough that those folks, of necessity, are lying.


*In the interest of fairness, though, I will say that when my credit card showed a suspicious charge recently, B of A was absolutely professional, efficient, and user friendly in handling the problem. I have to give them full marks there.
labingi: (Default)
It's been a while since I've spent so much of the day running from one thing to another: from TEFL practicum to office hour (I had to cancel the first half hour of it, but sadly the fellow who got my office hours from the department office wasn't on my email list and had been waiting for me for a half and hour), then to class, then student needs taking 20 minutes after class, which made me very nearly late to the orientation computer lab for my afternoon shift. After that, I was "off" for the day, which means home to grade papers and do lesson plans. It hasn't been a bad day, just the kind that makes you feel tippy on your feet.
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I just started my online course to get certified in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. My class is being taught by a fellow named Erik who is a graduate of Xavier University. I kid you not.

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